Zach Earl – Athlete of the Week – October 25, 2019


A member of what the Dolphins’ Cross Country program affectionately refers to as the “three-headed monster,” this week’s Athlete of the Week, junior captain Zach Earl, has consistently paced the Dolphins’ top spot throughout the season. With no signs of slowing down, Zach and the Dolphins are currently preparing for the TCIS Championships hosted at Bells Mill Park on Halloween night. Relying on a positive attitude, an endless motor, and a drive to be better than his competition, Zach is poised to make a run at a top-five finish in the TCIS finals.


“Zach has stepped up as a consistent contributor, racing as our number one runner this year, filling the void left by Owen Richards last year,” Head Coach Dashiell Quasebarth said of Zach Earl. “Zach regularly competes with Berk Alptekin, who consistently leads workouts, and Nick Damuth, the 2019 Race at the Cape Champion, and through their constant competition, we have seen each of them rise to the top and push each other each day.”


Despite taking the reins of the Cross Country top-spot after 2018 TCIS Champion Owen Richards graduated from Cape Henry Collegiate, Zach Earl has maintained a humble demeanor while continuing to push every one of his teammates to be better than the previous day. Whether vocally, or with his actions on and off the course, Earl has become a leader in the Cross Country program, which heavily relies on Zach’s contributions in every race of the season.


“Zach medaled at the Atlantic Coast Invite last Saturday with a 13th place overall finish, setting the tone for the team and showing his familiarity with the course at Bells Mill Park where our TCIS championship will take place,” Coach Quasebarth continued of Earl. “Zach continued through the first mile with his pack, and over the next two miles, Zach showed it was his day to shine as he stretched out a small lead on his teammates and paced himself to an 18:04 final finish.”


Competing in a field of nearly 100 contestants from Public and Private Schools throughout Virginia’s East Coast, Zach paced himself en route to his seventh top-20 finish of the season. As a result of the competition, Earl’s 13th place finish also marked 2nd place amongst the Independent Schools competing in the Atlantic Coast Invitational. The top-15 finish aided the Dolphins ascent to fifth place overall on Saturday. Zach has progressed drastically throughout his tenure with the Dolphins’ Varsity Cross Country program, consistently and continually shaving seconds off his previous best times.


“As runners age and run more consistently, it becomes harder and harder to shave time off their PRs, but Zach has found a way to do that. He has cut 15 seconds off his PR in the 5k and almost 30 seconds off his PR on a true cross country course,” Coach Quasebarth continued.


Throughout the 2019 season, Zach has continued to meet and exceed the coaching staff’s expectations. Earl has finished all but one race within five seconds of the 18-minute mark, which occurred in the first race of the season. In this race, Zach was still not far from the 18-minute mark. Ironically, Zach had completed this feat only once in the past two Cross Country seasons. A testament to the hard work he has put into his craft, Zach is now averaging a 5:45 mile pace across the 3.1-mile races. His best time of the season came on his home course, racing in the Race at the Cape, where Earl finished 3rd with a 17:49 result.


“Without a doubt, Zach Earl is our emotional backbone: he maintains a positive attitude at every meet and in every workout to encourage his teammates to be their absolute best,” Coach Dashiell Quasebarth finished of Zach Earl.


The pride of the Cross Country team each year is the atmosphere around the team. Last year, the team received the sportsmanship award, and are regularly complimented for their upbeat attitude and desire to support every single athlete on the team. There are few who embody this spirit more than Zach, who welcomes everyone on the team with the same positive attitude. With the TCIS Finals on the horizon, Zach will be called upon to motivate the Dolphins and push for the competitions’ top spot on Thursday, October 31.